PLA Urged to Accelerate Defense Modernization

Chinese President Jiang Zemin urged the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to enhance defense combat effectiveness under high-tech conditions, subject itself to the absolute leadership of the Party and speed up military modernization.

He made the remarks Friday at a panel discussion of PLA deputies to the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC), in session in Beijing since March 5.

Jiang praised the PLA for its achievements in military modernization over the past five years and its excellent performance in major military exercises, flood relief, the military parade marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the assumption of defense responsibilities in Hong Kong and Macao.

He called on the PLA to make new contributions to China's modernization during the 10th five-year plan period from 2001 to 2005.

The PLA must have a clear understanding of its historic mission in safeguarding national security, unity and social stability, he said.

He urged the PLA to enhance its defense combat effectiveness with a high sense of political responsibility and a high sense of its historic mission. "The PLA should closely monitor changing situations, get well prepared for various military tasks and help local authorities maintain social stability," he said.

Jiang stressed the importance of strengthening political education in the PLA to ensure the absolute leadership of the Communist Party over the armed forces.

To accelerate the pace of military modernization, Jiang said the PLA must give priority to developing defense technologies. " The enhancement of the PLA's combat effectiveness should rely mainly on progresses in science and technology," he said.

(People's Daily 03/09/2001)